Things to Know – Monday, March 6, 2017

Hopefully you had a good weekend. Saturday was beautiful and I was finally able to take a San Diego bike ride. I am off campus this week to lead an accreditation visit for another college, so Tim Flood is the acting president this week. Participating in accreditation visits is important for faculty and administrators because you learn a great deal, and you are ensuring good people are on teams…critical to the peer review process. Many of us have spent years trying to make accreditation a more collegial process and some of the work is at this link if you are interested…

Efforts Toward Strengthening Civility, Inclusion, and Respect

Over the last two years, Southwestern College has undertaken a number of initiatives to build a better understanding of our racial and cultural differences. As the new superintendent/president, I think now is a good time to review how those initiatives have impacted our college stakeholders.

As part of that review, the district is currently conducting due diligence assessments related to behaviors, processes and practices that may violate Board policy and keep our college from modeling and living our values of mutual respect, accountability and cultural competence and commonality.

The assessments will help us to better understand our lingering challenges and issues that prevent our college from moving forward to great success. Our goal is to develop a plan that strengthens a civil, inclusive and respectful college culture for all students and employees.

As I am trying to research and think about how to strengthen our college, I am intentionally doing some reading each day in the area of equity. I will share some of the reading for your review and thoughts. I am not requesting you have to read these, but hope you will continue to expand your thinking about how this conversation should take place and our collective cultural competency, humility, fluency, civility, respect…

Dr. Veronica Neal has accumulated some nice resources as a starting place for conversations. The following link leads you to some of my favorites…Paulo Freire, b. Hooks, and more topics/authors…worth a view.

I am personally drawn to the following passage on cultural humility:

Cultural humility is a lifelong process of self-reflection, self-critique and commitment to understanding and respecting different points of view, and engaging with others humbly, authentically and from a place of learning (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998).

Recent CA Supreme Court Ruling Allows Private Emails/Texts to be Released in a Public Records Request

On March 2, 2017, a unanimous California Supreme Court held that written communications of public officials or employees on their private electronic devices/accounts that involve agency business are public records under the California Public Records Act (CAPRA). Any and all communications of this nature are subject to disclosure in response to a CAPRA request, absent an exemption.

ALL correspondence on emails—with limited exceptions—is already subject to disclosure under the CAPRA. This ruling expands that reach to all Southwestern College faculty and staff personal emails and texts that involve Southwestern College business, absent an exemption.

The California Supreme Court has issued guidance on obtaining public records from employees’ personal accounts. Southwestern College leadership are currently reviewing that guidance to develop/amend policy and procedures pertaining to records and retention.

Until those policies and procedures are developed/amended, it is prudent for all faculty and staff to refrain from using personal accounts for public business.

To read more about the ruling, click here.